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High school football: Steve Barrett's return as coach sparks another Noble rejuvenation

The Bears were successful under Barrett before he became a principal. Now that he's back on the field, Noble is enjoying gridiron success again.
by Jacob Unruh Published: October 31, 2012
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/articleid/3724194/1/pictures/1872029">Photo - Noble football assistant coaches Matt Lane, seated, Kyle Davidson, left, and Tyler Solomon, second from left, along with running back Jimmy Wood and head coach Steve Barrett, right, pose for a photo at the Noble High School football field in Noble, Okla., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Noble football assistant coaches Matt Lane, seated, Kyle Davidson, left, and Tyler Solomon, second from left, along with running back Jimmy Wood and head coach Steve Barrett, right, pose for a photo at the Noble High School football field in Noble, Okla., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“When we got the opportunity to come back, it was kind of a chance to see if we could help bring some of the success back that we had,” Solomon said. “That was the main reason to kind of just get the program going back in the right direction again.”

Noble went 1-8 in 2010 and 2-8 in 2011.

But this season, something clicked. The coaching staff attributes a strong senior class, led by running back/linebacker Jimmy Wood, who leads Class 5A in rushing with 1,583 yards. But the coaches' history with the school is also a reason.

“These guys have led the way,” Wood said. “They've showed us how to lead. They've gotten better just as we've gotten better as players throughout the season … and everything seems like it's falling into place right now. Something great could come out of it.”

Great things are already happening. With brand-new facilities being built, the school hosted Notre Dame's marching band for a public practice before last Saturday's football game in Norman.

Things are also great on Friday nights.

Noble is 5-4 overall and 3-3 in district play, a far cry from the past few seasons.

“I think it started turning the corner last year,” Lane said. “If you look at the team two years ago, we weren't very good. Last year, we won two games and we were a lot more competitive.

“I think this year has been that cornerstone of it all coming together.”

And perhaps Barrett's second Noble turnaround in a decade is beginning to help change the perception of the town, which sits on the outskirts of Norman.

“I think we're kind of getting out of that ‘Noble is a dump'-type place that everybody talks about,” Solomon said.

by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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